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Hi, my name is Susan Greene, and I’m a freelance copywriter in Orlando, Florida.
Now that I’ve been in this profession for more than 25 years, I often find myself in the position of mentoring others just starting out.
At least one “newbie” a week contacts me for advice, and I thought I’d take the time to write up some of the advice I’ve been doling out.
When I began my career, I made my living as a freelance print copywriter. The internet didn’t yet exist (yes, I’m that old). My marketing efforts mostly consisted of writing brochures, ads and press releases for a diverse group of clients.
Business was steady, and I had a constant stream of new customers coming to me via word-of-mouth referrals and advertising agencies that subcontracted my services.
Then in 1998 I decided to focus on writing for the web. At that time, this was a unique niche. Most web copy was being written by print copywriters who had little comprehension of how the new medium differed from the old. Few books, if any, existed that explained the dynamics of writing for the web, and search engine optimization was a discipline yet to be defined.
Limited informational resources made learning the craft of online copywriting a challenge, one mastered mostly by trial and error, but it also meant that I had limited competition. Ultimately, it was a good niche to pursue, one that positioned me for success in the future.
Now, many years later, the landscape has significantly changed. Nearly every company, large and small, has a website or multiple sites, and many recognize the value of continually growing that site and keeping it current. Businesses also realize they must allocate a significant portion of their marketing budget to online channels, ranging from their website to landing pages to a social media presence.
Web copywriters are in high demand. Companies need their help in crafting home pages, landing pages, product pages, subscription pages, sales letters to customers, blogs, articles for e-zines and e-newsletters. They also need assistance in enhancing their websites for search engines, a practice commonly known as search engine optimization (SEO).
For copywriters, it’s boom time like never before. The sooner you learn the skills of online copywriting and SEO, the faster you can grow your clientele and charge premium fees. The demand is great right now and growing.
While the need for copywriters who do direct mail, brochures and the like still exists, the area of real opportunity is in writing for the web. Now is the time to become an expert online copywriter and capitalize on one of the most dynamic trends in marketing history.
Read everything you can on copywriting techniques and search engine optimization. A multitude of information exists online and off.
You can also look into copywriting coaching programs, which can be costly but worthwhile. Some of the top copywriters will mentor writers just starting out, and their personal, one-on-one instruction can greatly accelerate your learning curve.
Finally, start practicing, even if only on your own. The sole way to get better at writing is to write. Look for opportunities to test your creativity and hone your skills. You’re on a journey. Every step takes you closer to your destination — becoming a copywriter.
Don’t forget too, you’ll need to brush up on your sales skills. Those are a necessity for landing clients for your copywriting services.
I wish you the best of success as you embark on your adventure into this exciting field.